Defying Conventional Wisdom

The Secret to Defying Conventional Wisdom

After showing up at for tryouts with the Houston Astros, José Altuve was told not to return. It had nothing to do with a lack of ability; conventional wisdom simply considered a 5’5” man to be too short to play professional baseball. Uncertain about his next step, Altuve talked with his father who was well aware of the son’s abilities. In spite of what he had been told by the coaching staff, the young player returned to tryouts the following day. As of 2014, José Altuve has played in two All-Star Games. So much for conventional wisdom!

If rednecks had existed in ancient times, I supposed that the shepherd boy, David, would have qualified. Further still, his visit to the battle line between the Israelites and the Philistines would have made for a good country song. Wearing the typical garments of a sheepherder and carrying his well-worn staff, David looked nothing like the seasoned warriors who surrounded—and towered over—him. The only one who appeared to be oblivious to this fact was David himself.

“You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth” (1 Samuel 17:33). So spoke Saul, the king of Israel, in response to David’s request to fight the well-armed giant. Once again, conventional wisdom deemed a young person to be ill-fit for his quest. And, once again, conventional wisdom was wrong.

The Creator of the Universe has never been one to conform to our generally accepted opinions. He birthed the chosen nation of Israel through a woman who was well beyond the years of child-bearing. He then delivered that same nation from Pharaoh’s army by the unlikely hand of Moses. And, as we all know, He brought salvation to the world through the humble ministry of Jesus Christ. Obviously, God knew what He could do regardless of what anyone else thought.

What a difference there is between conventional wisdom and godly wisdom! Conventional wisdom is birthed of human opinion which succumbs easily to self-deception. Never is the temptation for self-deception so great as when we desire to think well of ourselves. Not every person who gets a particular idea in his or her mind can accomplish that goal. Some of the contestants on our TV talent shows, for example, would do well to keep their self-acclaimed “God-given” talents to themselves. “Heavenly” is not a word I would use to describe some of those performances! Even a little honest counsel would save these folks a lot of embarrassment—although the entertainment value would certainly be lessened for the viewing audience!

Godly wisdom doesn’t always fit the mold of common sense, but it does requires a high level of personal honesty. The only way to accurately understand what God will and won’t do in a given situation is to objectively evaluate what we can—and can’t—do. David possessed a solid understanding of his own abilities, but, more importantly, he clearly grasped the source of those abilities.

Millions of voices will always tell us what can and can’t be done. Only through honest hearts can we separate truth from deception. For the Christian, the secret to defying conventional wisdom lies in humbly walking with God, seeking to know His ways, and getting truly wise counsel. Through honest and humble hearts we will discover the unconventional things that we have been created and called to accomplish. And, through His amazing grace, our God will grant us both the courage and ability that we need to fulfill His unconventional call!